Keith Olbermann is no stranger to cynicism, but he reached a new low this month when he described the hit television show 24 as the type of “fear tactic” “beloved” by the Bush administration, an exercise in “naked brainwashing,” and a “program-length commercial for one political party.” It seems Olbermann objects to 24’s recent season premiere in which several terrorist acts, including suicide bombings and the detonation of a nuclear weapon, transpired; Olbermann is worried because the show depicts such activity “not in places where these things have already happened, but in a country called the United States of America.”
Unfortunately, as we learned on September 11, “these things” have already happened in America. Still that doesn’t stop Olbermann from claiming that the threat of terrorism is an over-hyped phenomenon invented by the Bush administration—with help, of course, from the producers of 24. But my concern is not ultimately with what Olbermann thinks about 24 or Islamic radicalism, but with whether the American people share his cynicism about, and denial of, the threat we face.
I’m concerned because I fear too many Americans think too lightly of Islamic radicalism and the devastating impact it could have on the future of our country. How else can we explain a recent Fox News Poll that found 34 percent of Democrats, 19 percent of Independents, and 11 percent of Republicans do not “personally want” President Bush’s new Iraq plan to succeed? I attribute this startling revelation to the belief, espoused by Olbermann and others, that the threat of terrorism is exaggerated, that it is somehow “Bush’s war,” and that therefore developments in Iraq (and other fronts in the broader war on Islamic radicalism) have no impact on our national security, our freedoms, our values, or the future of our country.
To combat this trend we need to clarify the basic truths about the threat. To begin with, I’d say that television depictions of the evil plots of our enemies is a public service, and not a “fear tactic.” In addition, I offer the following three basic truths about the threat of Islamic radicalism. My hope is that every American citizen—Republican and Democrat—will remain, or in some cases become, mindful of such things as we speed toward 2008.
The threat is real. The stated goal of al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups is to establish, by force, a worldwide caliphate – a united Muslim autocracy. They intend to accomplish this goal by killing infidels (non-Muslims) and enforcing Islamic Sharia law on a global scale.
Doug Wilson is the the co-author, with Edwin Feulner, of Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today.
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